For the first time in provincial level, the DENR-XI, through its PENRO Davao del Sur conducted a Cave Congress in aims of apprising awareness about the significance of caves through an experiential learning. The event was launched in September 5 in Brgy. Asbang, Matanao, Davao del Sur, with a line-up of activities that anchor to the theme “Empowering Stakeholders for Sustainable Ecotourism”.

The participants were given lectures on the Salient Features of RA 9072 or the “National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act”, RA 9147 otherwise known as Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act as well as the Cave Geology. Topics were delivered by the experts from DENR XI’s Conservation and Development Division and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. Further, Basic Caving 101/Protocols and Guidelines and Basic Ropemanship and Knot Tying Learnings and Applications were also tackled in preparation for the spelunking activity.

9 14 1st Cave Congress Matanao 1To achieve the experience-based learning, the participants accessed the 3 of the marvelous caves of Matanao namely- Asbang Fak Sol, Dat’s Cave and Su’bon Cave. Around 75 partakers were able to set their foot inside the cave, held on its bumpy stone walls, enjoyed the sight of intricate and fragile centuries-old formations that hang and protrude, converged with wild lives, soaked in the subterranean water while walking, crawling, climbing and abseiling through the wide-to-tight passages.

Members of the Regional Cave Committee (RCC-XI) who adopted and approved the conduct of the 1st provincial congress also showed its support by gracing the event, pitching in the line-up of activities and conduct its 3rd quarterly committee meeting.

A photography contest was also conducted to spur the participants’ creativity in capturing the sights and moments which they perceive champions a story. What made the event even more meaningful is the conduct of tree-planting activity wherein around 500 seedlings of molave and narra were planted in a 1-hectare area of So. Talambato, Asbang.

The 3 full-packed days has been successful through the support of different sectors, partners and stakeholders including the Dept. of Tourism-XI, RCC-XI, Lone Congressional District of Davao del Sur, PLGU Davao del Sur, PENRO-LGU of Davao del Sur, Provincial Tourism Office of Davao del Sur, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Municipal LGU of Matanao, Municipal Tourism Office, MDRRMO-Matanao, MENRO-Matanao, BFP- Matanao, Philippine National Police- Matanao, Armed Forces of the Philippines, 39th Battalion, Municipal Engineering of Matanao, Barangay LGU of Asbang, Matanao and the Local Cave Guides of Matanao.

Asbang Fak Sol, Dat’s Cave and Su’bon Cave have all been assessed by the DENR. These are all determined as Class II caves which qualifies the place to be open only to experienced cavers or guided educational tours/visits. However, having all significant matters considered, only the Sub’on Cave is open to the public as of the moment.

Congratulations on the success of 1st Cave Congress, PENRO Davao del Sur!